China Train Baggage Allowance and Transportation
Each passenger is allowed to take a certain amount of carry-on baggage for free.
•Children (children with free ticket included): 22 pounds (10 kg)
•Diplomat: 77 pounds (35 kg)
•Other passengers: 44 pounds (20 kg)
•The total length of each item cannot exceed 63 inches (160 cm).
•Rod-shaped baggage should not exceed 79 inches (200 cm) in length and 44 pounds (20 kg) in weight.
•The above limitation is not applicable to wheelchairs, which can be brought onboard for free.
•If the baggage exceeds the allowed amount (either by weight or size), please use the consignment service. However in real life, railway stations do not weigh or measure baggage. Hence, most allowed baggage can be taken into carriages if they are not extremely large or heavy.
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Bullet and high speed trains (C, D & G)
• In the seat carriages (first, second, and business classes), there are two luggage racks over seats at either side of the coach. The rack is only 15.7–19.6 inches (40–50 cm) wide and 19.6–23.6 inches (50–60 cm) high. Therefore, the carryon bags and suitcases should not exceed 23.6 inches long, 15.7 inches wide and 15.7 inches high, and the dimension should be less than 51.1 inches (130 cm). Rod shape item can not exceed 70.8 inches (180 cm) in length. An international standard 28" suitcase with the linear dimensions within 62.2 inches (158 cm) is too large for the rack, and smaller type of 24”, 22”, 20”, and 18” can be put on the rack.
Passengers travel with large bags or suitcases (larger than 28”) can place them at the closets at the connection between two carriages, but the space is limited and suitcases are piled one on another. Therefore, you'd better check in early and find a place for your suitcase, and take care of the fragile items. The back of the last row of seats also has room for large items. If you sit at the first row, there is room for your large bags or suitcases.
Note: Carry the valuable items with you if you are far from your luggage; keep an eye on it, especially when passengers get on and off at a station.
• In the soft sleeper coaches, there is no luggage rack or closet. Passengers can only place their carry-ons under the table or the lower berths. The lower berth is about 9.8 inches (25 cm) high above the ground and the table is about 27.6 inches (70 cm) high.
Different from those in Europe and America, ordinary trains (Z, T, K, Y, S, L, and accommodation. Read more about train types) in China do not have special carriage or closets for carry-ons. All luggage has to be put on the racks above seats or berths or under the seats or berths, and there will be no room for large bags or suitcases on passengers' carriage.
• Hard Seat: Luggage racks are over the seats at both sides of the carriage. The rack is 22 inches (55 cm) wide and a large 28” suitcase can be placed on it. What's more, the 27.6 inches (70 cm) high table and 11.8 inches (30 cm) high seat provide room for baggage.
• Soft Seat: The rack in soft seat coaches is relatively large compared with hard seat coaches, but there are no special closets for large items. Passengers should consign the large ones in advance.
• Hard Sleeper: The rack is over the aisle and 20.9 inches (53 cm) wide. There is also room for luggage under the 27.6 inches (70 cm) high table and 9.8 inches (25 cm) high lower berths. Some hard sleeper coaches have closets inside the compartment, then the space will be much smaller than a rack.
• Soft Sleeper: The closet is inside the compartment. It is about 19.9 inches (50 cm) wide and 15.7 inches (40 cm) high. You can also put your luggage under the table (27.6 inches or 70 cm) or the lower berths (11.8 inches or 30 cm).
• Luxury Soft Sleeper: The closet is above the door and is as large as that in soft sleeper compartment. Each compartment only has two beds, so there is enough space for luggage in the closet or under the lower berth. In addition, there is a closet for clothes.
The following items are prohibited on board:
1. Items whose transportation is prohibited or limited by the government.
2. Dangerous goods, ammunition, edge tools and blunt objects.
3. Animals (excluding guide dogs) and goods (goods with revolting smell included) which will affect public hygiene.
4. Edge tools and blunt instruments which may harm other passengers, such as knives (fruit knife and table knife included), axe, nail gun, bow, and arrow.
5. Bicycles, including folding bicycles, and other goods or animals that may pollute and disorder railway stations, dirty carriages, and affect traffic inside carriages.
See more: Can I Take My Bike on a China Train?
6. Baggage that exceeds the limitation of the regulation.
Regulation on the amount of the followings that can be brought on board:
1.Less than 2 gas lighters.
2.Less than 2 boxes of matches.
3.Items like enamel and hair dye, less than 0.7 fl oz (20 ml).
4.Items like alcohol less than 3.5 fl oz (100 ml).
5.Items like hairspray, styling mousse, insecticide and air freshener, less than 4.2 fl oz (120 ml).
6.Less than 20 newborn poultries.
If your baggage exceeds the allowed amount or you take special items like a bicycle, you can have them consigned before departure. Currency, securities, cultural relics, jewellery, important documents and other valuables are not allowed in checked baggage. The weight limitations for each piece are 110 pounds (50 kg). The minimum volume should be more than 0.01 cube yard (0.01 cubic meter). Usually, your baggage will be transported in the same train with you and can be collected as soon as your arrival. If the train you take happens to have no freight carriage, your consigned stuff may be transported by an earlier one so that you can collect it upon arrival. The staff of the railway station will notify you to pick it up if your luggage arrives later than you. The station only keeps it for three days for free and a storage fee will be charged from the fourth day. To check your luggage, you are required to present your ticket and fill in a form which should include your name, address, phone number, and the weight or amount of the items. Do remember to wrap up those fragile items and electronic products, for these may be damaged during transportation.
Currently, C, D and G trains do not provide consignment service as they do not have freight carriages, so their passengers have to check luggage on other ordinary trains. Therefore, a high-speed railway station which only operates C, D and G trains do not provide this service, either, and one needs to go to other stations for consignment. Also, as transported by ordinary trains, the consigned items may arrive much later than passengers themselves and probably at a different station.
China railway also provides parcel services which enable you to mail your personal items, such as a large pile of books, quilts, clothes, a bike or a wheelchair. For foreign passengers, you may need to deliver your heavy or special items to the next destination through this service during a multi-destination trip. The luggage may travel slower than those by express delivery, but the charges are much cheaper.
Certain certificates should be presented when you want to transport the items listed below:
1. Jewellery, cultural relics, currency, securities, firearms.
2. Police dogs as well as other protected animals.
3.Items requiring inspection according to the government regulations.
4. Items which are restricted to transport by People's Republic of China.
Luggage Porters – Red Cap Luggage Service
In most Chinese railway stations, especially large stations, there will be some distance between waiting rooms and platforms or between platforms and the station’ exit, which also includes stairs to climb or get down. It will be inconvenient if you take large carryon suitcases or bags. To solve this problem, porters in red caps or vests provide charged service in the railway stations. A porter will usually collect eight to ten pieces and carry them on a trolley or a cart. The charge is CNY 10–20 for each piece. Before check-in, the passengers paid for this service can follow the porters to get to the platform and get on board prior to other passengers; upon your arrival at a station, the porters will carry your luggage and guide your way to the exit.
Related Link: China Travel Tips